Laconia | New Hampshire Public Radio


Anti-Semitic Post Brings Calls For Laconia State Rep To Resign

Dec 16, 2020
Laconia Daily Sun

A Laconia rabbi and the head of the city school board say residents have swamped them with emails and messages demanding a Laconia state representative resign after posting a link on Twitter last week to an article with an anti-Semitic image from a neo-Nazi website.

Courtesy of Laconia Daily sun

Story updated: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 5:15 p.m.

The Belknap County Legislative Delegation is reversing course and will provide a public audio stream of Tuesday evening’s scheduled meeting. The move comes hours after the Laconia Daily Sun requested the New Hampshire Attorney General intervene, citing the risk of COVID-19 as the delegation will gather in a room in the county complex that won’t meet social-distancing requirements.

AscendedAnathema / Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court says it will not hear an equal rights appeal from three New Hampshire women who were arrested for going topless at Weirs Beach in 2016. 

The high court rejected the "Free the Nipple" case Monday, along with dozens of other cases it's declined to hear in its upcoming term.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says other, similar cases are still proceeding in lower courts around the country. 

Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroads - Facebook

Railroad proponents are pushing back on a proposal to remove existing train tracks near Laconia to make way for a long-planned rail trail extension.

Stewards of Laconia's nine-mile WOW trail, named for nearby water bodies, hope to someday extend the paved bike and pedestrian path over nearby rail corridors and other existing trails so that it would seamlessly connect Franklin and Weirs Beach.

Justine Paradis

In fewer than three hundred years, New England moved on from witch trials and executions and became a place where people openly call themselves witches.

But there are many ways to practice modern magic.

This is the second episode of The Real Witches of New Hampshire, a collaboration with New Hampshire Humanities.

How Laconia Is Confronting An Airbnb Boom

Aug 21, 2019
Sara Willa Ernst / NHPR

Marc Burrell, an Airbnb host in Laconia, describes his listing as a ‘no-frills room.’ It’s a spare bedroom in his house, which is a few blocks from downtown and a stone’s throw from Lake Winnisquam. And the room has been nearly booked solid all summer. 

Sara Ernst / NHPR

At Weirs Beach in Laconia, a sign in big block letters reads “Warning... Swim at your own risk.” More than halfway through the summer, beach-goers are swimming in the bay, while the lifeguard stand remains empty.

Sara Ernst / NHPR

The sale of St. Joseph’s Church in Laconia has been called off, after prospective buyers withdrew from the deal. 

The Diocese of Manchester, the Catholic Church in New Hampshire, announced a new plan to preserve the church Monday. The plan is to divide the campus into three parcels: the John W. Busiel House, the old Holy Trinity School and St. Joseph’s church. The Diocese will then keep the church and sell the other two buildings. 


Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Thousands of motorcyclists rode to Randolph on Saturday to honor the seven bikers killed in a June crash there. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson talked to some of those motorcyclists before they embarked from Laconia.  

The “Ride for the Fallen 7” began in Laconia and travelled up I-93, ending at The Inn at Bowman for a memorial service near the site of the crash.



Sarah Gibson for NHPR


People attending Fourth of July celebrations around the state on Thursday stood a good chance of running into a candidate for president.


Democratic candidates Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Republican candidate Bill Weld, started out at the Amherst parade. Most moved next to Merrimack. And by 5 pm, Gillibrand, Gabbard, and Delaney were strolling down Laconia’s North Main Street, flanked by volunteers chanting their names and waving signs. 


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Community members formally appealed the decision by the Diocese of Manchester to demolish St. Joseph’s Church in Laconia. This is a last ditch effort to save the building after church officials filed for a demolition permit.


The appeal was submitted by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Preservation Society, a nonprofit created by a handful of impassioned community members last week.


N.H. AG Announces Arrest in Laconia Homicide Case

Apr 27, 2019
AG's Office

New Hampshire police have arrested and charged a man with second-degree murder for allegedly killing a Laconia resident at his home.

The Attorney General's Office said Hassan Sapry, 21, of Laconia, was apprehended Friday. 

Sapry is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, April 29, in Belknap County Superior Court.

Police had identified Sapry as a "person of interest" Wednesday, following the death of 57-year-old Wilfred Guzman Sr.


The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is investigating a homicide following a man's death in Laconia Friday.

The AG said Wilfred Guzman Sr., 57, was found dead at his residence.


The Chief Medical Examiner's office concluded Guzman's death was caused by a blunt and sharp-force injury to his head.


The homicide remains under investigation.

First responders across New Hampshire are participating in a grant program that uses mobile units to connect people struggling with substance use disorders to treatment and recovery services. It’s called NH Project First.

Lt. Brian Keyes has already been doing this kind of work for the past two years as the recovery coordinator for the Laconia Fire Department. He says in recent years the department has responded to many more overdose calls than actual fires.

Courtesy of Erin Pettengill

A program developed in Manchester that supports children in trauma is spreading to other New Hampshire towns.

The program - called “Adverse Childhood Experience Response Teams” (ACERT's) - helps police connect social workers to kids who have recently witnessed a traumatic event, such as domestic violence or an overdose.

NHPR Photo

  A man accused of threatening violence at the New Hampshire Police Academy graduation has been sent to Concord Hospital for a mental health evaluation.


According to court documents, fellow classmates say 24-year-old Laconia Police Department recruit Noah Beaulieu talked about bringing 30-round magazines of ammunition and shooting those attending the academy graduation scheduled for Friday.


Attorney Mark Sisti is representing Beaulieu. He said his client has no criminal record or mental health history.

Alan Mountjoy

A commission tasked with providing recommendations to the state on possible development of a 200-acre piece of land in Laconia provided progress updates Tuesday.


Planning and design firm NBBJ provided a tweaked proposal for the site, which now includes a mix of starter homes, retail, open spaces and other development.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

On Saturday, Laconia Middle School became a training ground for police, firefighters, and EMS personnel from across Belknap County.

The Laconia Police Department organized the training to test local emergency response in case of an active shooter. Police departments across the state conduct these regularly, but trainings at schools have ramped up in the last several years, in part due to funding from the Department of Homeland Security.

Scroll through the slideshow above to see photos from the training.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR


The Laconia Police Department is conducting an active shooter exercise Saturday at Laconia Middle School.

New Hampshire police run these exercises regularly, but this one is meant to train officers from departments throughout Belknap County.

Police Chief Matthew Canfield says, when incidents occur in a rural state, it's critical to coordinate multiple departments.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

A commission tasked with providing recommendations to the state on possible development of a 200-acre piece of land in Laconia held a public hearing Tuesday night.

In the past, consulting firms have imagined the site could find new life as retirement housing, a sports complex and even a hotel facility.

But attendees got a presentation from planning and design firm NBBJ on Tuesday that imagines all three co-existing on the site along with dozens of starter homes. They call the proposal a "Multi-Generational Wellness Village."

Going Local: The Lakes Region

Aug 28, 2018

The Exchange explores the Lakes Region as part of our ongoing series, Going Local

The Lakes Region is a huge tourism draw, featuring outdoor recreation from boating to bike week. Yet the region struggles with maintaining a strong workforce and providing affordable housing for people living and working there year-round.

This show originally aired on August 9th, 2018. 

Alan L. MacRae

Last week, The Exchange went to the historic Belknap Mill in Laconia to talk to a live audience about what it takes to make New Hampshire's old buildings relevant and useful for today.   

For children who rely on free and reduced price meals during the school year, including 50 percent of public school students in Laconia, summer vacation can mean 10 weeks of food insecurity. 

That's why 10-year-old Maia Heller is up early on her first day of summer vacation, volunteering for the Got Lunch! Laconia program. 

"It feels really good that I know they need some food and I'm helping them get it," Heller said as she packed apples, carrots, and jars of peanut butter and jelly into grocery bags. 

Google maps

The Laconia Police Department reports that a single motorcycle rider died after crashing his motorcycle on Watson Road late Tuesday night.

Police said the operator was traveling northeast, just east of Route 3, when the motorcycle left the paved roadway.

Neighbors nearby rushed to the scene and called emergency services. The rider was pronounced dead at the scene. Police did not release his name, pending notification of family.

Casey McDermott / NHPR


The 95th Laconia Motorcycle Week kicks off this weekend, marking the start of the Lakes Region summer tourism season.


The festival draws in visitors from across the country, and is a revenue boost for restaurants, bars and hotels in the area. 


But some folks who've been working Bike Week for years, like Steve Penlin at the Broken Spoke Saloon on Weirs Beach, say they've noticed a demographic shift in the biker community.  


Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Lakes Region residents got their first look Wednesday night at possible future plans for the former Laconia State School.

The scenic, state-owned property was a state prison, and before that, a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. 

NH Department of Transportation

Lakes Region residents can hear more Wednesday night about plans to redevelop the site of a former state prison in Laconia.

The Lakes Region facility was a minimum-security prison from 1991 to 2009.

For nearly 100 years before that, it was the Laconia State School – a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. It had a documented history of abuse, neglect and overcrowding.

Now, state and local officials have to decide what to do with the scenic, 200-acre property long-term.

Katherine Garrova

Representatives from NASA visited Smiths Titeflex in Laconia Thursday to emphasize the company's efforts in bringing humans to space.


All the external plumbing for NASA’s Space Launch System - which the agency says will be its most powerful rocket ever built and will pave the way for travel to Mars - is manufactured at Smiths Triflex.


Astronaut Barry Wilmore was on hand to give a presentation to employees that included photos from the 178 days he spent in space.  

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Despite fears that it would close last summer, the Weirs Drive-in Theater in Laconia will kick off its 69th summer of screening movies under the stars this weekend.

The iconic movie theater announced it was closing last year after a buyer expressed interest in developing the property.

City of Laconia

While Statehouse politics draw headlines, it's the day-to-day decisions at the city and town level that can have a bigger impact on our lives: from housing to education to the opioid crisis.  We sit down with a panel of local leaders, about the challenges and rewards of their jobs - and what they'd like to see from the state.